Kashmir’s Jean Violet to offer Whole Lotta Led

Wish you could go back in time and see Led Zeppelin in concert? Well, the next best thing rolls into Connecticut when Kashmir: The Live Led Zeppelin Show takes the stage at the Stamford Palace on March 24.

We chatted up Jean Violet, who, in 2000, founded the band that has grown to be one of the leading Led Zeppelin tribute bands touring nationally and internationally. Kashmir features Jean on vocals and harmonica with guitarist Andy Urban (also Theremin and bow), drummer Paul Cooper and Felix Hanemann on bass, mandolin and keys.

Kashmir captures the live performance and raw energy of a Led Zeppelin show, bringing fans of all ages back to the days when Led Zeppelin was king on the music scene. Tickets are $25 – $50 and available at stamfordpalace.org.

Andrea Valluzzo: How did you come up with the idea for Kashmir?

Jean Violet: What happened was I was living in New York City and I put together a tribute band, Time of Dying. A buddy of mine and I thought for fun we would do Zeppelin covers in the West Village. It took off like a rocket. I formed Kashmir and my goals were to play theaters, festivals, etc. We started off in New Jersey and Connecticut and now we tour as far as northern Canada and as far south as Texas. It wound up evolving into something that I really enjoy doing while making some money.

AV: Can you give us a preview of the concert at the Palace?

JV: What we try to do is present the live Led Zeppelin experience, what people would have seen in the 1970s at a live Led Zeppelin show. We are into playing as tight as possible but we also like to push the live music experience. The older people are saying, “Man, you just took us back to 1973,” and then kids tell us, “This is the closest thing that I will get to see Led Zeppelin.” The experience is about the energy between the band and the audience — we have people singing in the audience. Everyone feels it, the audience feels it, it’s almost like you are out of space and out of time.

AV: Who is your audience?

JV: It is multi-generational. We have grandparents; they bring their kids, and their kids bring their kids. That is a cool feeling when you see all these different generations sharing that experience.

AV: Do you have certain Led Zeppelin songs or albums you will do?

JV: We try to pick a lot of songs that people know but we have a couple obscure songs that hardcore fans will know. You have to play what people want. For the most part we nail it. Every six months we change up the schedule so you are never going to see the same show twice.

AV: What is one of your favorite Led Zeppelin songs to sing?

JV:  I like Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

AV: What is the hardest song to sing?

JV: We do a medley where we throw in Immigrant Song, Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog. I don’t get much oxygen.

AV: Tell us about your other project with Violet Sunn Armada.

JV: It evolved from this Led Zeppelin project. We were playing in North Carolina and someone from a Black Crowes tribute called me and said, “I have this Deep Purple meets Led Zeppelin thing, all originals, would you be interested?” Over the last few years we have written ten songs. We will release the songs around Memorial Day weekend.

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